The level of PCBs in Crabtree Creek, Brier Creek, Walnut Creek and the parts of the Neuse River in Wake County are so high that you should not eat the fish.

These waterways, and more than 1,200 others statewide, are among the most polluted in North Carolina. Known as the 303d list, named after the portion of the federal Clean Water Act that regulates it, the document details the most impaired watersCategory 5in the state.

When a waterway appears as a Category 5, it triggers certain environmental regulations. These include limitations on what toxics and contaminants can be discharged into the waterway each day and still meet water quality standards.

In Januarybefore the coal ash spill into the Dan River and the sewage spill into the Haw Riverthe N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources drafted a new list; you can comment on it until March 14. Send comments to

Number of impaired waters:
U.S. = 41,529
North Carolina = 1,270
N.C. rank in U.S. = 11

Wake County:
Miles of impaired waterways = 160.6
Additional acres = 216.6

Chatham County:
Miles of impaired waterways = 94.6
Additional acres = 2544.2

Durham County:
Miles of impaired waterways = 72.9
Additional acres = 4997.1

Orange County:
Miles of impaired waterways = 32.1

The list may be modified based on public comment; the final version will be posted on the DENR website after EPA review and approval. View the entire 154-page list of current impaired waters, plus proposed additions.

Sources: N.C. DENR

This article appeared in print with the headline “Clean Water Act.”